Excavators: Fleet Expansion For High Productivity, Positive Cash Flow

June 2013, Vol. 68, No. 6

Ellis points out that in addition to understanding the length of a manufacturer’s warranty and the scope of its coverage, prospective owners also need to account for the actual money they will put into a machine during its working life. Routine maintenance costs are key elements in the cost of ownership calculation.

“It’s a given that every machine's going to need fuel and an operator, but the bigger ongoing concerns are maintenance of filters and fluids, as well as maintenance of attachments depending on the type of environment they're working in. In a rocky environment, wear will be greater on the ground engaging tools, the undercarriage and other wear items,” Ellis says.

That’s why Ellis cautions buyers to be fully educated on a machine’s size and capabilities versus its machine utilization plan. Bumping up to a larger class of excavator may not only add to the purchase price, but will likely result in a higher cost of ownership with potentially higher maintenance costs.

If there is an expectation that the machine will move quite a few times during a year, then transportation costs should also be included in the cost of ownership. Ellis adds, “A contractor needs to know if they will invest in their own transportation equipment or subcontract. Of course, the larger the excavator, the more that cost is going to increase with associated permits and regulations.”

Taking the time to research new excavators within the context of these three considerations will not only help you achieve an educated fleet expansion, but assist your operation in keeping machine productivity and cash flow trending in a positive direction.

Doosan Equipment, (877) 613-7970, www.DoosanEquipment.com

Wheel vs. track excavators
In general, excavators are versatile enough to be used on a variety of jobsites, but they’re not all created equal with regard to their mobility on finished surfaces. According to Doosan Product Manager Chad Ellis, a wheel excavator is ideally suited for a number of applications, such as ditch cleaning, utility installation or road maintenance, that require travel while using a work tool.

“If contractors are frequently transporting an excavator in areas that can be driven, they may need to evaluate whether the capabilities and specifications of a wheeled machine would better fit their needs. It could lower transportation costs and provide more flexibility around a paved jobsite,” Ellis says.

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